Arlington and Alexandria / Russian and Uzbek / $$
“I don’t really know anything about Russian culture,” your friend mentions offhandedly one day. They don’t have time to read War and Peace today, nor will they be visiting a dacha anytime soon. The solution, as it really always should be, is food.
Options are slim for Russian cuisine in NoVA, which is why it’s so fine a thing that there are two locations of Rus Uz. Your friend already knows borscht, but do they know blini or pirozhki? The pastries are stuffed with ground beef so full of flavor that they’ll question everything they’ve heard about Russian food being heavy and bland. The blini are thin, pancake-like wraps, while pirozhki are beef contained in flaky dough that shatters into a million layers at first bite.
And if your friend wants to know about farther east in Central Asia, too, Rus Uz is there. The Uzbek plov, a rice dish buried in lamb, is far less expensive than a flight to Tashkent. OK, you and your friends won’t be experts on the geopolitical situation when you leave, but your stomachs will be happily coated in sour cream.
See this: In the more formal Alexandria restaurant, chandeliers line the ceilings around comfortable booths. The advantage of visiting Arlington is the larger market next door.
Eat this: Blini, plov, chicken Kiev
Service: Workmanlike. Everything gets done, but with no frills.
When to dine here: You want to introduce a friend to the cuisines of the steppes.